Phil Housley retired with the record for most points and games played by an American-born player in the National Hockey League history.
Phillip Francis Housley was born March 9, 1964 in St. Paul, Minnesota. A hockey prodigy from an early age, Housley scored 118 goals as an 8th grader at the Bantam level. He went on to star for his high school, South St. Paul High, and was selected to play for the U.S. National Team at both the World Junior Championships and the World Championship.
Phil was drafted sixth overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, and joined the Sabres on defence that fall. He had an outstanding rookie season in 1982-83, scoring 19 goals and 66 points to earn a berth on the league's All-Rookie Team. He scored a staggering 31 goals as a second-year player, and was picked to play in the NHL All-Star Game for the first of seven times. He starred during eight seasons in Buffalo before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets with Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and a first round draft pick in exchange for Dale Hawerchuk and a first round selection.
Housley spent three productive seasons with the Jets, including a Second All-Star Team selection in 1992. He was also a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenceman that same season. In 1992-93, he enjoyed a career year in which he collected 97 points. But Phil was then dealt to the St. Louis Blues just prior to the 1993-94 season, a trade that saw the Jets receive Nelson Emerson and Stephane Quintal. One season with the Blues and Phil was sent packing to the Calgary Flames along with second round draft picks in 1996 and 1997 in exchange for Al MacInnis and a fourth round pick in 1997. During his second season in Calgary, the Flames traded Housley and Dan Keczmer to the New Jersey Devils for Tommy Albelin, Cale Hulse and Jocelyn Lemieux.
Signed as a free agent by Washington in July 1996, Phil spent two seasons with the Capitals, and in his last season, he and his teammates went all the way to the Stanley Cup final before being swept by the Detroit Red Wings. It was the closest Housley got to winning the Stanley Cup during his NHL career. In fact, Housley played more games without winning the Stanley Cup than any player in NHL history.
During the summer of 1998, he was claimed on waivers by Calgary and returned to play three more seasons with the Flames. In September 2001, the Chicago Blackhawks claimed Housley in the waiver draft. He played the better part of two seasons with the Hawks, but at the trade deadline in 2003, Phil was traded to the Maple Leafs for two draft picks. Hoping to employ Housley's veteran leadership and offence from the blueline in their drive towards the Stanley Cup, Phil played but one regular season game and three playoff games before Toronto's season came to an abrupt end. Phil Housley's career came to a conclusion, too, and he announced his retirement in January 2004.
While his career consisted of a number of stops and starts, Housley always proved to be a cerebral player with strong offensive talent. He played 1,495 regular season NHL games, amassing a record of 338 goals and 894 assists for 1,232 points. In post-season play, he added 13 goals and 43 assists for 56 points in 85 games. Phil is the second-leading scorer amongst American-born players, in spite of playing defence.
In addition, he contributed significantly to the United States' entries at the World Championships in 1982, 1986, 1989, 2000, 2001 and 2003, as well as the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup tournaments. At the World Cup of Hockey in 1996, Phil and the team took first place. He was also part of Team USA's silver medal effort at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
In 2004, Phil Housley was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.